Do you sometimes feel like you’re aimlessly going around in circles when schooling at home? International showjumper Trevor Breen has an exercise that requires both the horse and rider’s attention.
Trevor uses this on his youngsters, but horses of any age will benefit.
A good exercise when warming up is to use trotting poles on a three-loop serpentine. I like using trotting poles with young horses as it teaches them to figure out where to put their feet. It’s a simple exercise that anyone can set up at home and requires very little work.
Every time you go across the arena the horse trots over five poles. I pace out five of my feet in between each pole. This distance is a bit longer than normal, to encourage them to lower their neck and stretch out their front legs.
Riding a serpentine is a good way to loosen up the horse and gives the rider something to focus on. You have to work on the turns and it teaches the horse to listen to the rider. This is good training for the ring, as when you turn him to a fence he’s got to go in the direction you want.
You can then raise the middle pole, and ride the exercise in the same way. Again it encourages him to be careful with feet.